Angels shake off slump in one explosive inning, beat Phillies, 7-2

Angels shake off slump in one explosive inning, beat Phillies, 7-2
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols scores a run during the sixth inning of the team's 7-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday. (Harry How / Getty Images)

In his 15 years as the Angels' manager, Mike Scioscia never has used a position player to pitch, no matter how lost the cause.

So it took about a second for him to reject the slump-busting trick of picking the batting order out of a hat.


"I don't think so," Scioscia said.

No major changes to the lineup, but one big change in the visiting dugout. The woeful Philadelphia Phillies were there. They self-destructed in the same inning in which the Angels' bats came alive, and the result was a 7-2 victory in which the Angels scored all their runs in one inning.

The sixth inning, to be exact.

The Angels had not scored more runs in an entire game since the All-Star break, a span of 23 games. In their weekend series against the Boston Red Sox, they had scored eight runs — in 37 innings.

On Tuesday, for the first five innings, the Angels were shut out by ex-teammate Jerome Williams, who has been cut this season by two teams a combined 50 games out of first place. In the sixth, the Angels scored seven runs and had seven hits, and a couple of pretty poor plays by the Phillies defense.

Kole Calhoun had two hits in the inning, a home run to start the inning and a single to drive home the final run. Collin Cowgill had a run-scoring double and David Freese had a two-run double, although Cowgill's ball landed just over the head of Phillies right fielder Marlon Byrd before bouncing into the stands.

At the All-Star break, the Angels led the league in runs, at 5.1 per game. Since then? Last in the AL, at 3.2 per game.

At the All-Star break, the Angels had a .269 batting average and .761 OPS, both second in the AL. Since then? Last in the league, in both categories, with a .223 batting average and .624 OPS.

The Angels made one modest change Tuesday, calling up outfielder Brennan Boesch from triple-A Salt Lake and inserting him into the starting lineup at designated hitter. Scioscia said Boesch would share the DH role with Cowgill and Efren Navarro.

But Scioscia maintained a team-wide offensive slump meant there would be little point to shake up the lineup.

"We've gotten creative at times," he said, "but you make moves that make sense. You hope, if you make moves, it can stick for a long time."

Scioscia acknowledged the Angels hoped to get "a little bit of a spark" from Boesch but said the lineup that led the league in runs for half the season was plenty good enough to burst out of a three-week funk.

"I don't think, in the long run, lineup changes make any sense," he said. "In the short term, to jump-start some things? You always consider it."

How about moving Josh Hamilton down in the lineup? He entered the game with one hit in his last 24 at-bats. "I'm not going to focus on one guy," Scioscia said. "There's a solid nine guys, from top to bottom, that have had trouble getting into their game since the All-Star break."

They did again, on Tuesday, for the first five innings. That sixth inning was a tonic, at least for one night.

Twitter: @BillShaikin